Showing posts with label christmas decorations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label christmas decorations. Show all posts

Wednesday

3 Christmas Stockings - A Dose of Encouragement



Something that has come out each year to decorate our home at Christmas are 3 red & white stockings.


I can't remember exactly when we got them (it may have been during our three years living in the US) but it was a long long time ago and even though our 3 children are all grown up and living in various countries Fred & I would still hang them up and fill them.


The kids laughed at us for doing this but I have never seen them refuse the little bits and pieces that were placed inside for them like Toblerone bars,  boxes of Maltesers,  Smarties,  etc.


Yes we all like chocolate in this family.


They also think we are very predictable because of what would be shaken out of these stockings except for the couple of different little non-edible surprises each year but as I said before - We all like chocolate in this family.





Of course now we have added a daughter-in-law and a son-in-law to the family so they get the same treatment as our two sons and daughter but we use Gift Bags instead of the three stockings which  now are hung up simply as decorations.  Hung up mostly to remind us of the old days as we can be a sentimental lot in our family too - okay - I can be sentimental.

It is good to look back and think of previous Christmases, about the happy times and the family as it grew and the coming together with others at that special time and to look now at these three stockings and say "Yes, once we were a family with 3 children and now we have grown."

Of course when we say grown we don't just mean in number from 5 to 9 because of the two grandchildren or in size because yes our boys are tall like their dad but also grown in maturity.
When we look back at these 3 stockings now we thank God for how our children have matured in their relationships with God as well.

So often Christmas is a time of what we want NOW when we think of presents and food but we need to focus back on Why we actually have Christmas each year.

We do need to be predictable and think about the same things each Christmas.


Why do we actually have Christmas each Year?

Christmas is the remembering back to Who came to earth and Why He came.

Jesus came as a baby to live and grow to be the man who was also God, the only one who could then take on our sin and punishment to be our Saviour.

Looking at our 3 stockings our prayer is that our three children and all their families (even those yet to come) will know Who came to earth that first Christmas and Why He came.




How We Personalized Christmas - A Dose of Encouragement


In the past we have often given someone a personalised present at Christmas or we have got personalised tree decorations for our kids


BUT  this year


we personalised Christmas quite a bit.





To start with it was our grandson Matthew's first Christmas and although he didn't know what was going on ( not even 8 weeks old by Christmas) we were all thinking about him and we started off by receiving gifts from others mentioning


"Baby's First Christmas"


Then we were at it ourselves because I bought a star tree decoration handmade about Matthew for our tree and then got one identical for Daniel & Suzie's tree.






But Fred was the one who thought of the idea that included everyone.


Now I'm the one who loves mugs and I always find myself glancing over the array of mugs in any place I see them just in case I will see a nice one (should be a bargain of course) or see one that makes me think of someone in particular and I know it will be a nice gift for them.


But Fred was the one who had the idea about the personalized mugs!


So he designed them for each of the family





The mugs for the proud grandparents.






The mugs for the proud aunt and uncle.






The mugs for the proud parents.







Then a mug for each of my 4 Black Boys.



And that is how we personalised Christmas this year.


So often we go through Christmas time in a blur of shopping, cooking, giving gifts, visiting and eating together but do we make sure that the time is really personalised?


We can personalise Christmas time in two ways and neither of them has anything to do with our names on mugs or anywhere else.


We can personalise Christmas Time in 2 ways.



We can personalise it by putting our mark on Christmas.

Yes we need time to shop for gifts and food, cook for the family and friends, give and receive gifts, visit and have meals together but we can also make time to engage with others on a good one to one basis and not just the hurried "Merry Christmas" and "hug".

We can think about little things that will make the time a happier memory for others or a time when they know someone cared enough to talk and listen to them and share a laugh or two.

I can think of a great example that happens each year in the Coffee Shop that our son Daniel manages in Belfast.  On Christmas Day anyone and everyone who may be on their own over Christmas are invited to come to Common Grounds and share in a Freshly Cooked full Christmas Dinner.






Volunteers flock to help and others are eager to donate food or money to provide a special meal and afternoon for anyone who drops in.
This year over 110 people were served and not only they, but also the volunteers were blessed in their time together.



We can personalise it by putting Christ's mark on Christmas.

Yes again we need to do all the practical things and a lot of what is involved now at Christmas time is centred around things rather than the person who is the reason we celebrate Christmas.




We need to make Jesus the Centre of Christmas and the Reason for Christmas.


One thing I insist on each year is that the Christmas cards we send out will always be focusing on Jesus and not referring to Christmas as a season.
  

Here are a few of my favourites  









And one we sent the kids in our Sunday School - deliberately picked to remind the children of the puppet show we had in church that year on the nativity and the fun time they had with the camel puppet.






Even this year when we sent out fewer cards and then sent an email greeting to link to a family letter on this blog we still wanted to express our thankfulness to God for sending the Saviour of the world and chose this picture for our Christmas greeting, keeping Christ at the centre.




We often hear things like:

“if you had been the only person on earth Jesus would have still died for you”

But we are not the only ones so we have a responsibility to put Christ's mark on each Christmas we celebrate here on earth to share Jesus with others and not remove Him from it.







We need to remember "Our mark & His mark".


I generally like to buy my Christmas Cards really early (as in the January sales!) so I am looking again now for a card with a fully Jesus centred theme to make sure I personalise Christmas for Christ.









Thursday

Pretty Little Bouquets & Decorations.


Today I want to tell you about my friend Debbie.



She has a great interest in buttons and jewels.

She just got married in September this year.

She has a great smile.



These three things are all true about Debbie and they make me smile but the main thing I want to tell you about Debbie is that she makes some lovely items that you will really want to take a look at and tell others about.




Now of course I am not backward about asking questions about Debbie's talent and I have seen the final product so I could talk about it all but I think it might be nice if she would tell us a little about it herself.


Hi I'm Debbie and I'm from Northern Ireland

I began making handmade bridal bouquets using an array of materials such as buttons, beads, pearls, brooches and other pieces of jewelry just over a year ago. I started making them as I wanted to carry something a little different at my own wedding, which took place this year on 27th September. 





During my process of trying out different designs /colours I began to accumulate a lot of bouquets around my home. A few of my friends started to comment on how much they liked them and suggested I should sell them to other brides.






So on 20th November 2013 I opened my Etsy shop, Pretty Little Bouquets
(A year ago today!)





To date I have sold almost 200 bouquets/ buttonholes, my best sellers are my cute little mini bouquets for Flower girls but I have also had the pleasure of collaborating with lots of brides to make their unique custom bouquets and bridesmaid bouquets.






I have also been working lately to produce a few nice button decorations to celebrate Christmas 







and I would like to think that with Gods help Pretty Little Bouquets will continue to grow and bring joy to many brides in the future.






Didn't I tell you she made lovely things and when you look at the prices you will be amazed at how reasonable they are so get over there quickly and have a look around.



Don't worry about where you live because she sells worldwide.


Remember too if you have an idea of what you would like and don't see it in the shop if you contact Debbie she can work with you for a custom made item.


There is also a Pretty Little Bouquets Facebook Page so go over and like it as well in case you don't need anything right now but might in the future!!!






I do want to make it clear that I do not benefit in any way from any sale Debbie may make by anyone clicking through to her Etsy shop or Facebook Page from my blog.

I'm just excited to share my friend's talent with you and introduce you to some beautiful creations at great prices.